Friday, March 26, 2010

Easy Websites for Artists

A few years ago, when switching from Comcast cable to Verizon FIOS, I naturally lost the ability to change and update the simple art homepage I had created on Comcast. More than two years went by, I could not change the website, but it would not simply go away either… Ugh. I found that having that old site lurk out there somehow made me procrastinate on creating a new site. Not sensible, but … Well, I constantly tell fellow artists in the WCA, my students, and artists in my community, that they have to have a solid, clean, controllable website with current work to insure a web presence as an active artist. So I needed to “practice what I preach”. I know some HTML, but did not want to actually program a site from scratch - I had procrastinated for nearly three years, and truly was not ever going to have the time to learn Dreamweaver or Joomla, in my schedule.

I found Other Peoples Pixels by looking at wide range of artist websites. This simple clean design tool appealed to me from the very first, and I really got hooked after I started to play with the free trial.

To see how it works, go to my webpage and click on the "Design" logo in the upper right corner - all the info and the free trial sign up is there.

You can quickly do the free trial - and that is what I did to start.

It is a website designer template environment created by artists, run by artists - but the end-user does all the designing very easily! No one to wait for to plan the work, no one to pay every time you change - and I can change mine in literally seconds if I want to. Obviously it is not going to solve everyone's web needs, but they are perfect for me, and many artists. When I was ready to move from the free trial to a live site, they do the transfer of the trial to real domain name within two days - in my case it was under two hours.

I designed my current website in under two hours. Although I still need to upload many of my more current art jpegs, the framework is there, and there are literally an infinite number of ways to design it!

I wanted to mimic the look of the blog I designed to "brand" a style, so I used similar colors.
They pay the fee for the domain name that you choose, and if I ever leave Other Peoples Pixels, they happily transfer the domain to me if I desire it. If you do a lot video and sound, you currently (March 2010) pay $260/year for 8000 artworks, but for less capacity needed it is $160/year for 2000 artworks. They host your site, provide support for the editing environment, and pay for the domain and setup fees, etc.

This option works for me in both money and time expenditure, and I admire the many ways to instantly change the look of the website, almost everything is flexible, and frankly - fun to create.

Once you have a website you also have to consider - what next. One book that helps you consider how to handle the website further is Effective Websites for Artists and Art Groups by Bob Nicholson. Just as leaving your artwork hidden in a closet will not be beneficial, you also want to insure your website does not get buried in the vast collection of other artist websites - there are simple possibilities to help drive meaningful traffic to your website.

(And I am happy to report the old homepage I created on Comcast was finally completely disabled by someone, somewhere… and I can happily focus on my new site.)

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